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Elon Musk Says SpaceX Is Capable Of Launching A Manned Mission To Mars In 2024

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Elon Musk holds an unwavering view about SpaceX’s ability to launch a manned mission to Mars in 2024.

Founded by Elon Musk in 2002, SpaceX recently delivered astronauts to the ISS for the first time as part of a taxi service to NASA, but the aerospace company’s ultimate goal is to take humans to Mars. He made this remark during an interview with the CEO of the German media company Axel Springer SE, Mathias Döpfner, the Tesla founder.

Musk was speaking at Axel Springer’s Berlin headquarters after he was present with the 2020 Axel Springer Award. “And then we want to try to send an uncrewed vehicle there in two years,” he explained.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched on the Demo-2 mission with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley onboard.

The 2022 target to accomplish the first Mars mission is particularly important due to the orbital dynamics between the two planets, which line up favorably every 26 months. This is an ideal target window for any kind of space mission there.

Musk went on to say he was “highly confident” SpaceX could launch a crewed mission to Mars in 2026, but things go in their favor, that plan could come to fruition in 2024. SpaceX is relying on its 165-foot tall Starship craft to make the trip to the Red Planet.

SpaceX's first Starship prototype under construction near Boca Chica, Texas in 2019.

SpaceX plans to launch it on top of a giant rocket called the Super Heavy. Starship will be able to carry haul 150 tonnes of cargo or 100 people to the planet on each trip. The 2022 flights will focus on depositing cargo on Mars so that astronauts can use them when they reach there in 2024 or 2026.

Building a self-sustaining colony on Mars may require a dozen Starship missions to the Red Planet, Musk said. According to CNBC, Musk previously informed SpaceX staff via email that Starship was now the company’s top priority, and urged to immediately and dramatically expedite the progress on it. The email describes reducing Dragon’s return risk as to the only other priority.

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